Archive for the ‘News’ Category

New animator for ecumenical, interfaith relations named

Posted on: July 23rd, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Tali Folkins on July 21, 2017

The Rev. Scott Sharman, the Anglican Church of Church of Canada’s animator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, says God created the church to call people to “a way of dialogue and learning rather than rivalry and tension.” Photo: Contributed

The Anglican Church of Canada will have, starting this fall, a new staff person in charge of relations with other religious organizations.

The Rev. Scott Sharman, currently interfaith chaplain at the University of Alberta and also the diocese of Edmonton’s ecumenical officer, has been named as the church’s animator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod announced July 18. Sharman, who will work out of Edmonton, will begin in his new role September 1.

Reached by email, Sharman said he believed ecumenical and interfaith relations are especially important today because many of the worst conflicts troubling the world are rooted in differences over religion and culture—something very different from what God wants from the church.

“I believe God has created the church as a place where we are called into relationship with difference for the purpose of modelling a different way of being—a way of dialogue and learning rather than rivalry and tension,” he said.

Sharman succeeds Bruce Myers, who worked his last day as co-ordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations March 31, 2016 after being elected coadjutor bishop of Quebec the previous fall.

Sharman also teaches church history and Anglican studies at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, and serves as director of Ascension House, an intentional community for young people in Edmonton.


Anglican Journal News, July 21, 2017

Young Anglicans in South Africa create garden on ‘Mandela Day’

Posted on: July 19th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Posted on: July 19, 2017

Photo Credit: GreenAnglicans

Young people from a parish in a suburb of Cape Town have cultivated a garden at their church as a way of remembering Nelson Mandela on what was his birthday, July 18th.

Nelson Mandela International Day commemorates the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world. It was launched on his birthday in 2009 via a unanimous decision by the UN General Assembly. “It is in your hands to make of the world a better place,” he had said a year earlier, calling on the younger generation to take up this task.

The tradition has developed of taking 67 minutes to do something for others on Mandela day.  It is based on the idea that each person has the power to change the world and celebrates the 67 years that Mandela dedicated to social justice.

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The young people of Holy Spirit church in Heidveld spent their morning creating a beautiful vegetable and indigenous garden and they also cleaned up rubbish from around the church.  Each parish group – Sunday School, servers, youth etc., will be looking after a part of the garden.


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Wednesday 19th July, 2017

Launch of the new Oxford History of Anglicanism

Posted on: July 18th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Posted on: July 17, 2017

The official launch has taken place of the first ever multi-volume history of worldwide Anglicanism to be published by a major university press.  The Oxford History of Anglicanism, in five volumes,  covers the growth of worldwide Anglicanism with more than 100 international scholars contributing. Three volumes have appeared already and a further two are due later this year.

The person who had the idea for these volumes is Professor Rowan Strong, who oversaw the whole ten year process and worked with the individual editors, as well as being the editor of the third volume.  He comes from Anglican Church of Australia, and teaches at Murdoch University in Perth.

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The study looks at how Anglican identity was constructed and contested at various periods from the sixteenth century and what has been its historical influence during the past six centuries. It explores not just the ecclesiastical and theological aspects of global Anglicanism, but also the political, social, economic, and cultural influences of this form of Christianity that has been historically significant in western culture, and a burgeoning force in non-western societies today. The chapters are written by international experts in their various historical fields which includes the most recent research in their areas, as well as original research.

Speaking at the official launch, the Director for Unity, Faith and Order at the Anglican Communion Office,  Canon John Gibaut, described the five volumes as a timely gift: “There has been a flourishing of scholarly reflection on various elements of the Anglican tradition in recent decades: our history, ecclesiology, theology, theological methodology, canon law, liturgy, the quest for holiness and so much more.  The most comprehensive contributions are in these three—soon to be five—volumes of The Oxford History of Anglicanism.”

Canon John reflected that the context for the volume, as well as for many other recent publications, “is one of crisis that goes to the core of what it means to be Anglican, what it means to be Church and a communion of churches in the Anglican tradition.  The strains that signal new limits to diversity are indicators of a crisis of Anglican identity, both within provincial churches, and between them” he said. He described the volumes as a challenge to the Anglican Communion, and also a sign of hope.

At approximately 135 US dollars (£95) per volume, Canon John also appealed for assistance so that the books can be supplied to theological libraries in the global south:

“From the perspective of the Anglican Communion, I would urge that arrangements be made that these volumes find their way into our theological libraries – so that as they disclose our common past, they might nourish the seeds of our global destiny.”


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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Tuesday 18th July, 2017

Anglican priest Germany-bound for Reformation commemoration

Posted on: July 11th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments


 By Tali Folkins on July 11, 2017 

The monuments of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon at Market Square, Wittenberg.
Photo: LilGraphie/Shutterstock

A Toronto Anglican priest will head to Wittenberg, Germany, this summer as part of a Canadian Lutheran delegation to help mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

The Rev. Dawn Leger, ordained an Anglican priest in 2006, has been serving as pastor at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Toronto since last August. (The full communion agreement reached in 2001 by the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada [ELCIC] allows clergy of each denomination to officiate at the services of the other.) Last January, she found out, to her excitement, that she was among a group of five Lutheran clergy chosen to represent ELCIC at a commemoration event held at Wittenberg.

“This is such an incredible story, about how the Lutheran church—and almost the Protestant movement—began, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to experience that excitement, and the beginning of a church that has a very different beginning than the Anglican church,” she says.

Also on the delegation will be the Rev. Mark Kalvaitis, pastor at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Millions of people from around the world, Kalvaitis says, are expected to be in Wittenberg during the event, which is part of a wider commemoration organized by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), a federation of Lutheran and other Protestant churches. The Wittenberg event, he says, will be like “like an Expo ’67, but for the Reformation…It’s kind of like a multicultural festival of all the places that this Reformation message has spread to, [with people] coming back together and saying what has happened over the past 500 years in their place.”

The Rev. Dawn Leger, an Anglican priest serving at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Toronto  holds up “Little Luther.” The Playmobil toy, depicting Martin Luther, has become the company’s fastest-selling figurine in history. Photo: Marites Sison

The experience is bound to be festive—but it’s being called a commemoration rather than a celebration for a very important reason, he says. Though much good came from the Protestant Reformation, it also meant a painful split for Western Christendom.

Nor will the event be all back-patting, Kalvaitis says.

“I think there will be a bit of a candid discussion as well: the idea of being ever-reforming is a big part of our faith…have we solidified too much, and are we continuing to reform to be faithful?”

The commemoration will take place throughout much of the year, but the EKD is inviting specific churches from around the world to come and take part at specified times. ELCIC’s week in Wittenberg will be August 8 to 15. During that time, the delegation will put on exhibits and talks, meet people and share stories of ministry in Canada.

Leger says the group is hoping to highlight, among other things, ELCIC’s various ethnic ministries, especially in the Toronto area; the Anglican Church of Canada-ELCIC full communion relationship; and the role Canadian Lutherans and other Christians have played in the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The group hopes to conduct a blanket exercise, an ecumenical educational tool meant to tell the story of Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations in Canada, for other commemoration attendees, she says.

The event will also feature drama, music, the sharing of foods from across the world and an “ecumenical couch” that will allow Lutheran and other theologians present to share ideas with one another and take questions from the public.

According to legend, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses—the treatise some see as setting the Reformation in motion—to the door of Wittenberg’s All Saints’ Church (commonly known as Castle Church) on Oct. 31, 1517.


About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.


Anglican Journal News, July 11, 2017

Anglican Churches urged to think of seafarers this Sunday

Posted on: July 7th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Posted on: July 7, 2017

This weekend, on ‘Sea Sunday,’ The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) is asking Anglican churches to celebrate the contribution seafarers make to our everyday lives. ‘Sea Sunday’ provides congregations the opportunity to recognise and thank these seafarers for all they do, especially as many work under extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances.

The Mission to Seafarers is highlighting the challenges seafarers face, spending long periods at sea away from family and loved ones. The charity works in over 200 ports in 50 countries caring for the 1.5 million merchant seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs.

Secretary General for Mission to Seafarers Andrew Wright says, “Sea Sunday is the one day of the year, set aside by churches, to honour and celebrate the incredible work seafarers do. Without them, our quality of life would be greatly diminished as over 90% of everything we need and use is transported via the sea.

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He says the Mission to Seafarers greatly values its close partnership with the Anglican Communion around the world: “This Sea Sunday I ask you to join with so many friends, both in the Anglican family and beyond, to support the Mission to Seafarers through prayer, celebration and donating to our appeal. We simply cannot continue to minister to seafarers without your kind support.”

The charity is inviting younger members of congregations to write personal messages which the Mission to Seafarers will ensure are sent to chaplains to distribute to seafarers.  The charity’s Flying Angel Centres are based in 121 ports around the world offering refreshments, recreational activities, internet, phone facilities, and the chance to spend time away from the ship. While their justice and welfare services offer vital professional help and advice if a seafarer has not been paid or is working in substandard conditions, being bullied or has been a victim of wrongful arrest.

One seafarer and his family who were experiencing a very difficult time in 2016 was Alejandro Gapasin from the Philippines. Alejandro had not been able to secure a new work contract and had been unemployed for a year, facing severe financial issues and struggling to pay for his children’s schooling, food and mortgage payments.

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Alejandro and his family were looking at a very uncertain future and the stress of not knowing when he would find a job was taking its toll. Having been a seafarer for some years, Alejandro had encountered MtS chaplains before and had become good friends with one of the charity’s chaplains Revd Mark Classen so felt able to share his story with him.

Alejandro says, “My bad condition became the bridge for Revd Classen to connect me to people at MtS in the Philippines. Their personnel and volunteers came to my home with groceries and the things we needed. However, more than their material gifts, they managed to give us spiritual support as they prayed for the family, giving us words of hope and comfort and telling us that they could fully relate to our situation. They explained the activities, mission and vision of MtS and that the organisation aspires to be of service to all seafarers worldwide, regardless of nationality, religion or gender.”

He continues, “They left us all in awe as we were amazed with their passion and drive to be of service and support, especially to seafarers in distress like me during that period. My family and I are forever grateful to The Mission to Seafarers – they are all angels disguised as humans! We thank them for sharing some feathers from their wings during a time I was having a hard time flying on my own.”

To take part in Sea Sunday and request free service resources visit or email:


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Friday 7th July, 2017

St. Catharines priest appointed Canadian representative to Ecumenical Women at UN

Posted on: July 7th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments

The Rev. Laura Marie Piotrowicz attends the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Submitted photo

St. Catharines priest appointed Canadian representative to Ecumenical Women at UN

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In the wake of her serving as the Primate’s appointee to the Anglican Communion delegation at the recent United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 61, the Rev. Laura Marie Piotrowicz has been appointed as a Canadian representative to the Ecumenical Women coalition at the United Nations by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Piotrowicz, rector at St. John’s Anglican Church, Port Dalhousie in St. Catharines, Ont. in the Diocese of Niagara, is an executive member of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer, where much of her work revolves around issues of gender justice. She is also a member of the board of directors for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the relief and development agency of the Anglican Church of Canada.

A network of church denominations and ecumenical organizations accredited by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, Ecumenical Women seeks to promote gender equality at the UN and to help women of faith, particularly those attending the CSW. The worldwide Anglican Communion is one of 20 member organizations that together constitute Ecumenical Women.

Members of Ecumenical Women each appoint representatives to different working groups. As a representative to Ecumenical Women, Piotrowicz will attend monthly phone meetings and take part in one of four working groups respectively dealing with advocacy, orientation of members at the CSW, worship at the CSW, and communications.

Piotrowicz described her reaction to her appointment as “a combination of incredibly humbled and incredibly excited.”

Appointments to Ecumenical Women are typically open-ended and based on who member organizations choose to continue to represent them.

In a letter to Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, appointing Piotrowicz to UNCSW61, Archbishop Hiltz praised her as an ideal representative and “wonderful communicator.”

The work of Piotrowicz as a parish priest and her involvement in PWRDF, he added, have “allowed her to gain familiarity with the economic conditions and needs of women and girls not only in our province, but also in other parts of the Anglican Communion.”


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, July 07, 2017

Cathedral hosts ‘A Prayer for Canada 150+’

Posted on: July 4th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Art Babych on July 04, 2017

(L-R):  Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Bishop John Chapman, Padre Guy Chapdelaine and Archbishop Colin Johnson at the interfaith celebration at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa June 30.
Photo: Art Babych

As final preparations for Canada Day celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of confederation were being made on Parliament Hill nearby, a different kind of celebration took place at Christ Church Cathedral June 30.

“This eve of Canada Day celebration honours Indigenous nations who have dwelt continuously on this land for millennia,” said Cathedral Dean Shane Parker, in his opening remarks to an interfaith celebration titled, A Prayer for Canada 150+.

“The number, 150 plus, is in recognition of the history of the first people before confederation and our shared history as a diverse people of Canada since then,” Parker said. “By the grace of our Creator may we always dwell together on this land with respect and in peace.”

Diocese of Ottawa Bishop John Chapman led the procession of religious leaders, special guests and members of the Capital Region Interfaith Council into the church following an opening song by the Ottawa River Singers drum group.

Algonquin spiritual leader Oshki Nodin (Albert Dumont) gave the opening prayer, asking the Creator to “touch the Canadians of the future with your sacredness and blessings so that Canada will become a beacon of light and an example to the other countries of the world.”

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, in his comments to the gathering, acknowledged that Ottawa is built on unceded Algonquin territory. The Algonquin “culture and presence continue to nurture this land,” he said.

Watson also thanked “all First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, their elders, and their ancestors for their valuable past and present contributions to the land and society.”

Drum keeper and Algonquin Elder Barbara Dumont-Hill led the “calls to prayer” with a “life-giving” song. “All our songs were prayers,” she said. “We sing prayers for everything on the land, and this song talks about the one who gives us life, and walks with us always.”

Next was Imam Samy Metwally of the Ottawa Mosque who recited a prayer in Islam and translated it into English, ending with, “There is no deity worthy of worship except God.”

The Christ Church Cathedral Choirs, led by music director Matthew Larkin, closed the calls to prayer with the song Sanctus Benedictus. It was followed by 150 seconds of silent prayer before Padre Guy Chapdelaine, the Canadian Armed Forces Chaplain General recited a prayer that ended, “Creator of all, keep this country under your care that we may be people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth.”

A solo Inuit drum dance by 11-year-old Timothy Erkloo was a definite crowd-pleaser drawing applause from the congregation.

The Rev. Aigah Attagutsiak of Ottawa prays a blessing in Inuktitut at the interfaith celebration at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa June 30.
Photo: Art Babych

The Rev. Aigah Attagutsiak, the first Inuk to be ordained to the Anglican priesthood in a Southern diocese, was one of six participants who recited blessings before the closing ceremony.

Attagutsiak, assistant curate at St. Margaret’s Anglican Church in Ottawa, prayed in Inuktitut, her native language.

Others who recited blessings were Rabbi Eytan Kenter of Kehillat Beth Israel, Ottawa; Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Jacques Kabangu, Ottawa; Oshki Nodin; Imam Metwally, and Archbishop Colin Johnson, the Anglican Metropolitan of Ontario.

In his blessing, Johnson said, “May the gracious Creator who forgives us our sins, free us to be his agents of reconciliation and healing.”

He added, “May the god of peace bless us who come from many nations so that in this country we may find a home of justice and mercy and freedom.”

Among those attending the service were General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff; Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau, and members of the Ottawa fire and paramedic services.

About the Author

Art Babych

Art is the former editor of Crosstalk, the newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Ottawa.
Anglican Journal News, July 04, 2017

Anglican Journal wins 13 awards from Canadian Church Press

Posted on: July 3rd, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By André Forget on June, 30 2017

The Anglican Journal was recognized with a second place win for best use of multi-media on a website, during its coverage of General Synod 2016.  

The Anglican Journal won 13 awards from the Canadian Church Press (CCP), including a first place win for biographical profile, at an event held in Quebec City June 22 to recognize excellence among the members of the CCP for work published in 2016.

Four of the Journal’s publishing partners–­the diocesan papers The New Brunswick Anglican, The Saskatchewan Anglican, Huron Church News and The Highway–garnered 10 awards from the CCP, an association of Christian publications in Canada. Earlier in May, the Journal also won 12 awards, including four awards of excellence from the Associated Church Press, North America’s oldest interdenominational religious press association.

Journal contributor Diana Swift received top honours for Bishop in a Chevy pickup, her profile of Saskatchewan’s Bishop of Missinipi Adam Halkett.

Swift’s story is “a model of excellent, clear writing,” according to the judge’s comment. “Readers know they are in good hands. The article is written in a way that keeps them from asking the fatal question, ‘Why am I reading this?’ ”

The Journal editor and staff were recognized with second place wins for best publication website and best use of multi-media on a website.

Their coverage of the same-sex marriage resolution at General Synod 2016 also won a second place award for in-depth treatment of a news event.

“Taken together, the five parts of the in-depth coverage judiciously and fairly cover the different perspectives of the oft-contentious issue without evident bias,” commented the judge.

The newspaper also took third place for general excellence for its website.

Primate Fred Hiltz’s columns from the February, June and September issues garnered him a second place win.

“It’s so impressive that a senior churchperson, a primate of a major denomination, can write columns with such resonance and popular appeal,” commented the judge of the newspaper column category. “He never writes down but always manages to maintain the interest of the reader. Also, a broad scope of subjects.”

Jimpsie Ayres’s illustration “He is Risen,” from the March issue, took second place for original artwork.

Designer Saskia Rowley was awarded second place for edition layout and design for the December 2016 issue, and also took third place for newspaper front cover for the March issue and for feature layout and design for General Synod 2016.

Staff writers Tali Folkins and André Forget were also recognized with third place wins, Folkins for his feature Where the church has no name, and Forget for his news story on the passing of the same-sex marriage motion at General Synod 2016.

Photographer Art Babych won third place for his feature photo “Relief, despair as same-sex marriage motion fails.”

The New Brunswick Anglican, the newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Fredericton, won first place in the category of news story for Gisele McKnight’s news story I feel like I need a new word for thank you, and another first place award for newspaper feature layout and design for It’s Camping Season! Don’t Miss the Fun at Brookwood and Medley. It also received a second place award for feature photo, and an honourable mention for its two-minute interview with Colin Ranson.

The Saskatchewan Anglican, the newspaper of the dioceses of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon and Qu’Appelle, won first place in the category of feature photo for Nigel Salway’s picture of Qu’Appelle Bishop Rob Hardwick, and another first place award for its March 2016 front cover. A photo of banners at St. Luke’s Anglican Church took second place in the news photo category, and received an honourable mention for Saskatchewan Bishop Michael Hawkins’ theological reflection Inflame us with new hope!

Huron Church News, the newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Huron, was recognized with a third place award for in-depth treatment of a news event for its coverage of Bishop Linda Nicholls’ installation in the diocese of Huron, and the diocese of Kootenay’s newspaper, The Highway won second place for Dean Nissa Basbaum’s personal experience piece At the bottom of my freezer.

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.


Anglican Journal News, June 30, 2017

Christian, Jewish and Muslim students take part in interreligious summer school

Posted on: July 3rd, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Posted on: July 1, 2017

Photo Credit: Luc Hegetschweiler/WCC

[WCC] As young people from across the world gathered for a three-week Interreligious Summer School at the World Council of Churches Bossey Ecumenical Institute in Switzerland, they heard inspiring greetings about interreligious dialogue from people who encouraged them to contribute to issues of religious pluralism and intercultural acceptance in a society based on migration and globalisation.

Fr Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, director of the Ecumenical Institute and WCC deputy general secretary, wished the seminar participants success. “What is our common approach to the challenges of our time – to others who may have the same values, but from a non-faith perspective?” he asked. “May God, who is the God of creation, according to our Abrahamic religions, bless the beginning of the seminar.”

The young people are pursuing the Ecumenical Institute’s Certificate of Advanced Studies in Interreligious Studies, which is accredited by the University of Geneva under the Swiss Higher Education Programme for Continuing Education.

Revd Dr Benjamin Simon, Professor of Ecumenical Missiology, with responsibility for the Interreligious Summer School said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for 14 young Jewish, Muslim and Christian students from all over the world to live and study together in a safe atmosphere of conviviality and mutual respect.” Revd Benjamin added: “The aim is to find constructive solutions  and to discover how religions respond to challenges of our time and to equip our participants to become bridge builders and ambassadors for just peace.”

Sheikh Hafid Ouardiri, director of the Inter-Knowing Foundation, said each year’s experience is vastly different from the last. “I’m just expecting to get more knowledge than what I have before,” he said.

“As human beings we need freedom and dignity, and freedom and dignity are the same for everyone. We have to be together to bring this freedom and dignity. Here, at Bossey, we have this grace where we start as human beings, so our differences make us more open to be human to each other.”

The course encompasses a study period of six weeks, including three weeks of distance learning, and three weeks of residential study at Bossey. The residential period includes lectures, courses, workshops and study visits to places of interreligious interest.

Suzanne de Jonckheere, who helps lead the Continuing Education Centre at the University of Geneva, said students and professors alike, in order to support the evolution of their professional lives, and to face the complex issues of their societies, need time to think and reflect, to confront their knowledge and to share experiences. “Continuing education programmes and especially this class give you a special space of reflection and sharing,” she said.

Within the seminar, courses are conducted by professors from the Ecumenical Institute and WCC experts in collaboration with the Autonomous Faculty of Protestant Theology of the University of Geneva and Jewish and Muslim partners. WCC Communications director Marianne Ejdersten brought them greetings from the Holy Land, from where she had just returned.  Participants in the seminar will have the opportunity to practice storytelling to inspire other people to work together for just peace in the world. “Take the opportunity to get to know each other with open eyes, open ears and open hearts,” Ejdersten urged.

Upon completion of the course, students will receive a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Interreligious Studies.


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Saturday 1st July, 2017

Anglican bishops in dialogue look to Lambeth 2020

Posted on: June 30th, 2017 by Web Manager Anglican Church of Canada No Comments

Participants gather for the Eighth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue in Nairobi, Kenya. Submitted photo

By Matt Gardner on June 30, 2017

The Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue initially grew out of the 2008 Lambeth Conference, prompted by recognition of the need for conversation in light of disagreements over issues such as same-sex marriage. As the next Lambeth gathering approaches, it is only fitting that bishops at the latest consultation found themselves increasingly focused on plans for Lambeth 2020 and beyond.

Now in its eighth year, the most recent Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue took place from June 14-18 in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of this year’s consultation was haraambe, a word originating in Kenya that means, “to pull up together”, or joining hands to build and work for the common good. The consultation itself pulled together bishops and archbishops from Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, England, Canada, and the United States.

“I think it was an outstanding gathering,” said Bishop Michael Bird of the Diocese of Niagara. “We had wonderful discussion. There were a few new bishops involved, and it was a great opportunity to reconnect with people that we have gathered with over the years.”

The gathering, he said, served as an opportunity to plan out what future dialogue would discuss over the next two meetings in preparation for Lambeth 2020. As is customary, the bishops have released a testimony summarizing the fruits of their consultation: A Testimony of Mutual Commitment and Pulling Together—Haraambe.

“What happened this year was really taking a compass reading of where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and what the next two years will look like,” Bishop Bird said.

Growing friendships

Several representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada attended this year’s consultation. The Rev. Canon Dr. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa, Africa Relations Coordinator, has coordinated and attended all eight meetings since 2010.

Looking back on the consultations thus far, he believed they had seen the bishops “coming to an understanding that they must continue to be partners in mission, in spite of their differences.”

“Certainly the acrimony, name-calling and demonization of a decade ago has gone,” Canon Mukasa said. “These men and women are building a strong relationship among themselves, characterized by friendship and deep affection.

“They still disagree on some issues, but have now built enough trust to be able to talk honestly and forthrightly to one another without acrimony. There is also a greater awareness of the different mission fields in which they have been called and the demands thereof.”

Both Bishop Bird and Bishop John Chapman of the Diocese of Ottawa have attended all eight consultations, and describe them as highlights of their episcopal ministry.

Early on, Bishop Chapman said, there were many misconceptions between African bishops and those from North America and England.

“From the Canadian point of view, we tended to paint Africa with one brush, and there’s as much diversity of viewpoint in Africa as there is here,” the Ottawa bishop recalled. “They were believing propaganda about us … I think it would be reasonably fair to say they were thinking of us as not particularly faithful—that the gospel is disposable, really, if need be.

“Even in that very first meeting, you could see the propaganda that existed on both sides about each other was already beginning to dissipate. It was really quite fascinating.”

‘A renewed faithfulness to the communion’

Since then, the bishops have only developed a deeper understanding for the context in which their foreign counterparts carry out ministry. The latest consultation saw the bishops talk about issues ranging from colonialism to human sexuality, from pastoral issues to climate change and the threat of drought.

Above all, in the course of their growing friendships and mutual understanding, the bishops have come to a deeper appreciation for the ongoing value of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

“This time, more than any of the others, we were hearing from each other a renewed faithfulness to the communion … This one was different in that it was a given, right from the beginning, that this communion is valuable and it has to be preserved … not just preserved, but it has to be nurtured and supported,” Bishop Chapman said.

Bishop Linda Nicholls of the Diocese of Huron—one of two Canadian bishops attending for the first time, along with Bishop Robert Hardwick of the Diocese of Qu’Appelle—appreciated the chance to engage in cultural exchange with other bishops. During the consultation, Bishop Nicholls discussed how the Diocese of Huron is working to reverse declining congregation sizes and sense of mission.

“The opportunity, particularly in small one-on-one conversations or at meals, to go deeper into differences [of] culture and theology—that is invaluable,” she said.

Lessons for Lambeth and beyond

Global Relations Director Andrea Mann said that the meeting in Nairobi sought to look at ways in which the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue might configure itself past the 2020 Lambeth Conference—both to optimize what it has learned in the last decade, and to “find new structures that are in sync with the kind of organic growth that this conversation has experienced.”

That growth has seen the consultation evolve from 12 people attending what Mann described as a “fringe event” in its early days to a total of 49 bishops that have attended over the years.

The main result of the latest consultation, Canon Mukasa said, was “a greater awareness of the considerable data these meetings have accumulated over the last eight years, and the opportunity now to reflect on all of that and leveraging it toward greater healing in the communion.”

“As the only informal group coming out of Lambeth 2008 that has been able to meet regularly and consistently for almost a decade now, the group came out of this meeting committed to sharing their experience and learning to the wider communion.”

Read A Testimony of Mutual Commitment and Pulling Together—Haraambe.

Anglican Church opf Canada, News from General Synod, June 30, 2017